From rustic beach bars serving all-day snacks, to high-end international cuisine in exclusive luxury hotels, Goa has an array of gastronomical delights to suit all budgets and taste buds. If you’re keen to sink your teeth into the traditional local food scene though, these are the dishes we think you should be on the hunt for.
Crab Xec Xec
If you like crab, this Goan delicacy is a must. Crab Xec Xec (pronounced “shek shek”) is a curry made with grated coconut, ground coriander, dry mixed roasted spices and the star of the show, crab. This thick coconut gravy dish is usually served with rice or bread.
This chicken dish is a clear example of the fusion between Portuguese and Indian cuisine that took place during the colonisation of Goa. Traditionally the chicken is deep-fried and the spicy sauce is made from peppercorns, garlic, green chillies and ginger – similar to the well-known Portuguese peri-peri sauce.
Originating from the Portuguese words for wine (vinho) and garlic (alho), this dish was traditionally a mild curry made from a base of – yes, you’ve guessed it – pork, wine and garlic. These days it is a much more fiery and intense curry with the popular addition of red chillies.
Sannas are white, fluffy steamed rice cakes that can be eaten alongside most Goan curries. There is also a sweet version called godachi, which is made using unrefined cane or palm sugar called jaggery.
Fish thali is usually eaten at lunchtime and consists of a fish or baby prawn curry, fried fish, rice, vegetables, baby clams and pickle on the side. This dish can be cooked using a variety of seafood, although mackerel is a popular choice.
Bebinca is a multilayered coconut cake unique to Goa and traditionally served at Christmas. Despite using very few ingredients (coconut milk, sugar and egg yolks), this is a tricky dish to make because each layer needs to be cooked in the oven before another layer is added.